Tag Archives: Eric Angstadt

Berkeley to consider restricting large drugstores, future of proposed Solano Ave. Walgreens store in the balance

Walgreens2
Print Friendly

Berkeley is set to consider whether to limit the number of larger drugstores in the city, at least in certain neighborhoods, which may put a halt to disputed plans by Walgreens to open a new store on upper Solano Avenue.

The issue will be discussed at the city’s Planning Commission meeting Wednesday, March 19.

If the commission, a citizen’s group that advises the Berkeley City Council, approves drugstore zoning recommendations proposed by city staff, it will move Berkeley closer to legally prohibiting the proposed new Walgreens — a project that set in motion the city’s renewed examination of chain drugstore locations. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Work underway for 4-story MLK apartments in Berkeley

Construction work has been underway at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Dwight for the past few weeks. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

Work has started on a project to build a four-story apartment building in central Berkeley after a nearly nine-year gap since the city approved the plans.

According to a construction worker on site last week, the project is expected to take about a year to complete. Overaa Construction, which is based in Richmond, appears to be managing the work that is underway, as evidenced by various signs around the construction site, but has not responded to multiple calls or emails requesting comment about the plans.

A resident who lives near the site alerted Berkeleyside to activity at 2489 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in late September: “It’s a very visible site and now has bulldozers on it and there is no posted information on what is going on.… My understanding is that there were plans before the real estate slump to develop this site and now it may be going ahead but nobody really knows.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Berkeley units to stay rent-controlled after 2012 fire

The rear of the apartment building at 2227 Dwight Way where extensive fire damage is evident. Photos: Tracey Taylor
Print Friendly

A three-story, six-unit apartment building destroyed by fire early last year will remain rent-controlled, and former residents should have the right to return to the property, city staff said Tuesday night.

The Berkeley City Council heard an appeal Tuesday, filed by former tenants, of a June 2013 Zoning Adjustments Board decision regarding the property. Appellants alleged that property owner Lakireddy Bali Reddy was negligent in his approach to building maintenance, and that his negligence contributed to an unsafe situation that led to last year’s devastating fire at 2227 Dwight Way.

In addition to criticizing the city process related to rebuilding after the fire, appellants also said Reddy, of Everest Properties, should have to pay into the city’s affordable housing fund. City staff explained that the municipal code does not require that, since what is slated to be rebuilt is no different from what was on site before. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Testy response to proposed Walgreens on Solano Avenue

A rendering of the proposed Walgreens on Solano Avenue. Drawing courtesy Charles Kahn Architect
Print Friendly

A proposed Walgreens on upper Solano Avenue is meeting feisty resistance from neighbors, even before the developer has started the city’s official permit process for the project.

About 50 people showed up Thursday, Oct. 24, at an informal public meeting on the plan held at La Farine Bakery, which is across the street from the proposed site at 1830 Solano, at the intersection with Colusa Avenue. The site is currently a 76 gas station.

And by Friday morning, inboxes filled with the gathering steam of an organized opposition to the concept. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley officials crack down on ‘mini-dorms’

The city has, in the past, identified 2133 Parker street as a mini-dorm property south of the Cal campus. Image: Google Maps
Print Friendly

After at least eight meetings dating back to late 2011, the Berkeley City Council voted last week to begin to try to curb the proliferation of “mini-dorms” in residential areas around town.

Residents, particularly in the campus area, have been speaking out to the city about the problems that can be posed by these set-ups, which the city defines as group living households where renters have individual leases with landlords. Residents have said certain landlords pack as many people into these properties as possible, which leads to problems with noise, parking and traffic.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

‘The Durant’ apartments win approval from City Council

The Durant. Image: Johnson Lyman Architects
Print Friendly

Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council upheld a March decision by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board to allow developers to move ahead with plans to build a 78-unit rental apartment complex in downtown Berkeley.

The building, called “The Durant,” is set to have frontage on both Durant Avenue and Channing Way; it’s set mid-block between Shattuck Avenue and Milvia Street. The south side of the building is proposed to rise to four stories, and the north side to six. The architects are Johnson Lyman Architects of Walnut Creek.

The zoning board decision was appealed in April by Stephen Stine, who cited “severe detriments” related to noise, air quality and sunlight reductions that would affect residents, including his mother, who live in a senior housing complex — Stuart Pratt Manor at 2020 Durant — next door to the project site. Appellants also said the city hadn’t followed proper notification rules when zoning in the neighborhood was changed during the Downtown Area Plan process. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

North Berkeley merchants want parklets for the people

A parklet in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood. Photo: San Francisco Pavement to Parks
Print Friendly

Businesses in the Gourmet Ghetto are keen to jump on the parklet bandwagon — bringing outdoor seating to the streets for espresso sippers, pizza eaters, and world watchers in lieu of parking spots — but must first wait for the city to come up with a process for making the spaces available.

So-called parklets — slivers of open space sprouting in cities around the globe — are a big trend in urban design, with San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks leading the way locally, and Oakland following suit (a pilot program is under review there.) Berkeley is a little late to the take-back-the-public-space movement but eager to come up with its own ideas to beautify public areas where community members can congregate. Leading the charge is the North Shattuck Association, which is helping businesses in its café- and restaurant-heavy district organize around the concept.

“The parklets pilot project was conceived by the association based on our experience with hosting temporary parklets during past years on Park(ing) Day and the Spice of Life Festival,” said Heather Hensley, executive director of the association.

Park(ing) Day is an international movement conceived to help city residents around the world reimagine the humble parking space. One day each fall, D.I.Y., creative urbanistas are encouraged to transform parking spots into parks, playgrounds, pop-up cafés — anything other than a lowly (though coveted) place for cars. Park(ing) Day parklets have sprouted in Berkeley in past years in front of the Cheese Board Collective and the late Amanda’s Feel Good Fresh Food. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oakland’s Angstadt to be Berkeley’s new planning director

Eric-Angstadt
Print Friendly

Update, 8:00pm: At the public comment part of a closed session of the Berkeley City Council tonight, Mayor Tom Bates said that no-one had been hired as director of planning for Berkeley. He said the council would be interviewing Angstadt in the closed session and “our decision will be made after that”. Councilmember Kriss Worthington added that the vote on whom to hire would not take place tonight, the general public would see the candidate’s name, and the council would vote in public.

Original story: Eric Angstadt, currently deputy director of planning and zoning for the City of Oakland, is expected to be confirmed tonight as Berkeley’s new director of planning and development. The City Council will make the appointment in closed session tonight, and the official announcement is scheduled for tomorrow.

The directorship has been vacant for nearly a year, since Dan Marks retired last July 1. Wendy Cosin has been acting director in the interim.

“Eric is a very creative, visionary person who takes a very pragmatic approach to his vision,” said Joél Ramos, a member of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board and community planner at the Great Communities Collaborative for TransForm. “He’s very talented at working with people. We’re confident that if there’s a way to get something done on a project, Eric will find the way.”

Ramos cites three major projects in Oakland where he believes Angstadt’s contribution was crucial: the Upper Broadway corridor plan, the International Boulevard transit-oriented development, and the commercial corridor zoning update. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,